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Women in VC

Women make up a dismal 12% of decision-makers at US venture capital firms.

According to a study done by Axios, only 12.4% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women. Although this number is incredibly low, it’s actually a 3 point increase from the last study conducted in early 2019 still an increase from 9.65% in a similar study conducted in early 2019.

The study looked at data of 351 firms and found that there were only 182 female decision-makers among 1,472 total decision-makers. Of the 351 firms, 213 of them (61%) did not have any female decision-makers, and only 34 firms (9.7%) had two or more.

As Jenny Abramson, Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact said to Sallie Krawcheck in an interview for Ellevest:

“There's an imbalance in venture capital, and I think what's shocking to them is when they hear just how striking the numbers are. My partner, Heidi, and I are among the few venture capitalists who are women, who are making investment decisions —it is a pretty low number.”

One of the Axios researchers, Dan Primack, recognized in the conclusion of the study that there is an upward trend, but we are a long way away from achieving parity: “Venture capital is doing better when it comes to gender equality — but it's not doing well.”

The lack of women decision-makers makes me think a lot about the recent (now infamous) period gloves -Pinky Gloves- two men pitched. The founder duo said, “women can avoid unpleasant smells, bacteria, and germs in the garbage, and keep the used tampons from the eyes of others." They even got an initial €30,000 investment for the product. had there been a woman there, what would’ve she said? Probably something like ‘why would we want to promote the idea that periods are shameful and dirty?’ (Ralf Dümmel, the investor, apologized saying that he has not given enough attention to the topic of periods.)

Here are some women VC decision-makers, changing the tides of these stats:

More info:

2020 Axios Study [methodology: researchers asked PitchBook for a list of all U.S.-based venture funds that had raised at least one fund of at least $100 million in the past five years. Researchers then examined the current websites of those firms to determine decision-makers — rather than simply counting anyone listed as "partner."]

2019 Women in VC Study conducted in February of 2019

HBR research by Ashley Bittner and Brigette Lau


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